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‘Master tactician’ Koeman hits back at O’Neill as war of words continues

Date Posted,March 31, 2017

Ronald Koeman had fired a quick-fire response to Martin O’Neill as the row over James McCarthy’s fitness goes on.

Everton boss Koeman was left fuming after McCarthy picked up a hamstring problem during the international break, where he went away with the Republic of Ireland.

O’Neill responded to Koeman’s anger by insisting that “master tactician of the game” Koeman should also take some of the flack for McCarthy’s fitness.

He criticised the stacked pre-season schedule following Euro 2016.

But Koeman has hit back on Twitter, saying: “James McCarthy began his pre-season three and a half weeks after Ireland were knocked out of the Euros. From the master tactician”

McCarthy, 26, is expected to be out of action for a lengthy spell and Koeman hit out at both O’Neill and McCarthy for defying medical advice.

But O’Neill refused to take the criticism, saying that some of the blame for McCarthy’s problems lies with Everton.

(Photo: PA Wire)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MARCH 11: Ronald Koeman, Manager of Everton looks on prior to the Premier League match between Everton and West Bromwich Albion at Goodison Park on March 11, 2017 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images) (Photo: Jan Kruger)

In a statement on the FAI website on Friday evening, O’Neill said: “Once again the Everton manager, master tactician of the blame game, has struck out in his comments today, criticising both myself and James McCarthy.

“Perhaps a review of Everton’s pre-season programme might provide some enlightenment.

“James had a magnificent tournament for the Republic of Ireland last summer during UEFA EURO 2016, playing his last game in very late June. He then returned to Everton after a very short break, but only 11 days later, he played his first of three games, all within an eight-day period, against Real Betis, Manchester United and Espanyol. Overloading?

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